Sales and Marketing
The Volkswagen Group’s unique product portfolio comprises twelve successful brands, including innovative financial services, that excite millions of customers worldwide, year in and year out. We further strengthened these brands’ unique features and consolidated our excellent market position in 2014.
Brand diversity in the Volkswagen Group
“Volkswagen – Das Auto.” More than ever, the goal of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand is to offer innovative automobiles of lasting value based on consistently responsible business policies. Customers all over the world associate products from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with quality, reliability and German engineering skill. Brand management always focuses on the wishes of our customers. They are the starting point for developing innovations that are driven by demand while remaining affordable. This is our competitive advantage: based on this, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand aims to become the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in each class in the medium to long term.
“Vorsprung durch Technik” is not just a slogan for the Audi brand; it is an active brand promise that is delivered throughout the world, making Audi one of the most highly desired brands in the premium segment. Its objective is to become the most successful brand in this segment. To achieve this, Audi relies heavily on its progressive image, high-value products and sporty character. Its innovative engineering solutions and emotional design language have won it numerous honors and awards.
Intelligent concepts and a good value proposition have made ŠKODA a very successful brand in Europe and China. The “Simply Clever” slogan combines forward-looking functionality with an impressive space concept that is technically simple but offers sophisticated and practical features.
Design, passion, quality and constant updating – these are the distinctive characteristics of the youthful, dynamic Spanish SEAT brand that is aiming for stronger growth, particularly in Europe. SEAT’s goal of combining technological precision and superb engineering artistry with emotional design is expressed in its “TECHNOLOGY TO ENJOY” slogan.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche’s brand values are a combination of opposites: exclusivity and acceptance, tradition and innovation, performance and suitability for daily use, design and functionality. Porsche’s philosophy is “to achieve maximum output from minimum input”. From the very beginning, Porsche has focused on finding intelligent ways to convert performance into speed – and success – not just with more horsepower, but also with more ideas.
Exclusivity, elegance and power – these are the defining qualities of our Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands in the luxury vehicle segments. They round off the Volkswagen Group’s brand diversity in the passenger cars segment.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stands for superior mobility with its three core values – reliability, economy and partnership. The brand offers a range of different transportation solutions based on the highest levels of engineering. The vehicles are tailored to meet the individual transportation needs of customers in retail and craft businesses, as well as civil authorities and service providers. Private customers value the brand’s family-friendly MPVs and recreational motor homes.
The Swedish Scania brand’s core values are “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality”. This successful company has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses featuring extremely innovative technology for over 100 years. The brand offers its customers efficient transport solutions backed by excellent service offerings and financial services.
The core values of the MAN brand – and its key success factors – are reliability, innovation, dynamic strength and openness. As well as trucks and buses, the company is a leading manufacturer of diesel engines, turbomachinery, turnkey power plants and special gear units.
Ducati is one of the most famous manufacturers of premium motorcycles. Its emotionally charged products thrill the Italian brand’s customers with their premium quality craftsmanship, uncompromising performance and challenging dynamics.
Volkswagen Financial Services provides the Volkswagen Group’s private and business customers with the right products and services across all vehicle segments. It is the key to mobility for customers around the world.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The Volkswagen Group’s sales activities focus consistently on turning our customers into even more satisfied customers – this is our top priority. Thanks to the measures and process improvements we introduced, we were able to further increase satisfaction amongst our vehicle buyers, after-sales customers and dealership partners in the reporting period.
The Group’s brands regularly calculate customer satisfaction levels, focusing on products and services. They derive new measures from the survey results to achieve even greater customer satisfaction.
Measured in terms of customer satisfaction with their products, the Audi and Porsche brands are among the leaders in the core European markets in comparison to other Group brands and their competitors. The other brands in the Group also score higher than competing brands.
Customers are loyal to our brands and trust them when we meet, or better still, exceed their expectations of our products and services. The extent of this trust is impressively illustrated by our loyalty figures, which we measure on a regular basis. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, for example, has maintained a high level of customer loyalty in its core European markets for several years in a row and raised it even higher in 2014. The loyalty of Audi, Porsche and ŠKODA customers has likewise kept these brands in the upper rankings in a competitive comparison for a number of years.
Structure of Group sales
The Volkswagen Group’s multibrand structure helps promote the independence of its brands. Nevertheless, we use cross-brand sales activities to increase sales volumes and market share and increase sales efficiency, while cutting costs and improving earnings contributions.
In the reporting period, we strengthened dealer profitability in particular. This was achieved firstly with cost-cutting programs and secondly by expanding the business volume for each dealer. Our distribution network strategy calls for us to work with strong partners and leverage the potential of all business fields, and this, as well as the difficult economic situation in some countries, led us to restructure the distribution network. The focus was on a close working relationship with dealers and their profitability. We use Group companies to manage our wholesale business in over 20 markets. A central department makes sales activities more transparent and more profitable, as well as creating synergies between the different brands. This allows wholesale companies to learn quickly and efficiently from the Group-wide benchmarking process and from the best practices adopted by individual firms. The central department is instrumental in helping us achieve the goals laid down in the Group’s Strategy 2018.
Fleet customer business further expanded
Our relationships with fleet customers are often of a long-term nature. This customer group guarantees more stable vehicle sales than in the private customer segment in a volatile environment. The Volkswagen Group has an established base of business fleet customers in Germany and the rest of Europe in particular. Our extensive product offering enables us to satisfy their individual mobility needs from a single source. This allowed us to further consolidate, and in some cases even extend, our well established position in Europe in 2014.
The e-mobility challenge for Group sales
The Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility strategy covers the development of customer-centric products and business models to complement its range of electric vehicles.
When selecting products and partners, we take great care to obtain the greatest possible customer benefits and generate maximum synergies for the Group, while, at the same time, preserving the identities of our brands.
We also provided additional sales and after-sales services to our electric vehicle customers.
Used car business
The used car business is the fourth key source of income in our dealer organization after the new car, services and parts businesses. We ensure the profitability of the used car business by providing efficient processes and systems and highly qualified employees, as well as clear guidelines and management tools.
We focus on professional used car management at both the wholesale and retail levels. Customer-centric financial services are the basis for attractive product packages. In addition, we further strengthened our proprietary used car brands and rolled them out internationally so as to ensure that our offerings also meet customer needs. Cross-brand activities enable us to implement examples of best practice throughout the Group, benefiting from economies of scale and leveraging synergies.
We established and standardized processes for used cars at all distribution levels, enhanced and increasingly harmonized the underlying IT infrastructure, and introduced uniform management performance indicators.
To ensure long-term success in our used car business, we attach considerable importance to stable residual values – and this is also in the interest of our customers. We have set up system-based reporting functions for this purpose.
After-sales and service
In after-sales, the timely provision of original parts and individual service are instrumental in ensuring passenger car customer satisfaction. Globally, our service centers do not just guarantee high product quality – above all they offer tailored service solutions for customers of all vehicle classes across all Group brands.
Across the world, our commercial vehicles business also stands for products of the highest quality, along with strong customer relationships. Fuel efficiency, maintenance and operating costs, the residual resale value of vehicles, and the purchase price – these are critical buying criteria for our customers, in addition to availability. We are continually extending both our after-sales activity and our comprehensive service offering, and these play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction.
Scania is adding services to its range of trucks, buses and engines that guarantee fuel efficiency, reliability and good vehicle availability. These also include the Scania Rent Truck & Trailer service that helps to overcome short-term fleet capacity problems.
Scania Parts and the Genuine Parts Warranty ensure that most replacement parts are available within 24 hours throughout most of Europe. Drive behavior is the key factor affecting operating efficiency, wear and tear of tires and parts, as well as traffic safety. Drivers receive advanced training in even more efficient and safer driving techniques at the Scania Academy. Scania’s workshop service and service contracts offer customers a high degree of safety in addition to consistently high quality.
The MAN brand also offers service packages tailored to meet customer requirements to help them reduce their overall vehicle operating costs. These service packages include maintenance and repair contracts, for example, in conjunction with MAN’s proactive maintenance management service, MAN ServiceCare. Active data exchange between vehicles, customers and the MAN service points takes place via the MAN TeleMatics integrated onboard module. MAN ServiceCare enables operators to schedule maintenance work at the most suitable times, increasing the availability of their vehicles.
Dealers’ commitment to sustainability
“Think Blue.” is the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s ecological sustainability policy. It addresses the question of how individual mobility can be reconciled with sustainable practices, among other things. “Think Blue.” is contributing to the Volkswagen Group’s objective of being the most sustainable automobile manufacturer in the world by 2018.
Integrating “Think Blue.” into our business processes continued apace in 2014. The Volkswagen brand has set itself the goal of reducing CO2 emissions at the Volkswagen dealerships in Germany by 25% by the year 2020. Based on the experiences of German dealers, the global “Think Blue.” dealer initiative has set itself the goal of encouraging over half of all dealers in our focus markets to take part.